Impact of Pine Plantations on Soils and Vegetation in the Ecuadorian High Andes
In the Ecuadorian Andes, pine plantations of different ages and management strategies were evaluated for soils and vegetation against natural forest and grazed grasslands. These plantations were situated on volcanic soils.
Goals & Methods
The aim of this study is to provide stakeholders with a broad set of field data to inform mangement decisions. The data seeks to support the theory that exotic tree plantations have a negative impact on high Andean natural ecosystems. The authors sampled 46 different plantations with varying ages and management styles. There were typically two sampling units for each plantation and soil and vegetation data were taken from each.
Conclusions & Takeaways
No generalizable impacts of plantations were found. In some plantations, limited regeneration of Andean woody species was found; in others, virtually no regeneration was found. The vegetation under pine plantations resembled that of extensively grazed paramo grasslands in respect to woody species and overall species composition. Soils under pine plantations seem to be drier and less organic with higher bulk density. The effects of pine plantations in the Ecuadorian Andes vary by region, previous land use, and present management. The use of plantations for local economic purposes (fuelwood, etc.) needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in this region.
Impact of Pine Plantations on Soils and Vegetation in the Ecuadorian High Andes. Mountain Research and Development. 2002;22:159–167. doi:10.1659/0276-4741(2002)022[0159:ioppos]2.0.co;2..
- Proyecto ECOPAR-PARAMO (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics/University of Amsterdam), Ultimas Noticias, Quito, Ecuador
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands